Review Blog

Dec 18 2019

The Girl and the Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes

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Illus. by Sarah Massini. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408880524.
(Age: 3-7) Recommended. Themes: Rhyming Book, Imagination, Dinosaurs. Sarah Massini's (Kiss it Better, The Boy and the Bear) beautifully rich and detailed illustrations are perfect for this magical, dreamy tale. 'There's a town beside the sea, not so very far from here, with golden sands and rock pools, and a tattered, battered pier. And there's a girl upon the beach her name is Marianne, she's digging for a dinosaur just beneath the sand.' The fisherfolk are worried that Marianne is too preoccupied with old bones; 'She needs to find some friends', they say. But one night Marianne wishes with all her heart for her dinosaur to come to life. 'The wishing stars burn bright that night, the air is thick with dreams, and a deeply sleeping dinosaur is waking up, it seems . . . ' And so, we are witness to Marianne and her dinosaur friend's magical journey in the night: past unicorns and giants, through magical moonlit clouds and to a party place for all children and their dream creatures. 'Back to the town beside the sea and back to empty beds, and back to secret memories to keep from grown-up heads.' Upon waking, Marianne finds other children who also dream and imagine and they dig and explore together.
The peaceful, sparse and windy English seaside scene created by Massini is reminiscent of Emily Sutton's illustrations: evocative and full of texture. There are so many stunning double-page spreads and the colour choices and Marianne's flowing red hair are perfectly executed. The poetic language used throughout is rich with imagery and flows beautifully when read aloud.
This is a calming and charming bedtime story perfect for dinosaur lovers and all children who dream.
Nicole Nelson

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